I have been reparing my weed wacker, so I have the gasoline/oil mixture on my hands. I have washed them twice with hand soap, once with orange soap scrub, once with dish soap, once with hand sanitizer, and finally once with white vinegar. The white vinegar has done the best job so far.

Could I have stopped after a few washings, or it is still unsafe to handle food if I can still smell the gasoline in my hands?

  • I have to ask - are you sure it's your skin that still smells of gas and oil? Did you change clothes? Also, I wear the nitrile rubber gloves when working with toxic stuff. They're cheap and disposable.
    – 3Dave
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


With as much as you've done, you are safe my friend. Odor residue isn't the same as actually having those chemicals still coating your epidermis to mix with food prep to a concerning degree. It's probably worse that you've mixed so much alkaline with the natural acidity of your epidermal layer, leading to certain skin problems in the long run. If you're that worried about neutralizing the odor, you can mix baking soda with water (one part baking soda to 3 parts water and rub the paste on your hands) or vanilla extract with water (a few drops into a cup or so of water) and soak your hands in it for a bit. Then wash off lightly with a nonabrasive soap. Those combined with the vinegar should be pretty effective. Also, you may want to consider wearing disposable gloves for work involving chemicals.

  • A dash of cologne or perfume helps too. I totally agree it should be fine, you won't get eau du diesel in your food. Disposable gloves are dirt cheap, I personally use nitrile gloves as they stand up to more punishment.
    – GdD
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 8:07

While I do not dare to give you an direct answer on your question I want to give you two recommendations:

  1. The next time try a mixture of vegetable oil and sugar. The sugar works as an mild abrasive agent and the vegetable oil binds with diesel. Then do a second cycle with ordinary soap / hand wash creme.
  2. After exposing your skin to such an alkali ordeal you should care for your hands: Some bee-wax based hand creme should be fine, avoid the ones with excessive perfume
  • Would it work the same way for gasoline instead of diesel (I kinda doubt string trimmers have a diesel engine, and they specifically mention gasoline)?
    – Joey
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 9:23
  • @Joey I do not know. Attention: gasoline gets absorbed by the skin, so you should try to evade contamination instead of cleaning it of
    – Martin
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 9:43

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